Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4

    Question Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    Question involves the state of New York

    • Attorneys aren't suppose to lie to their clients
    • Client depend on there attorney to provide accurate information in order to make decisions. Which is why its important for attorney not to give their client misleading statements or infomation.


    It's safe to say that clients hire attorney for their knowledge pertaining to the specific area of the matter.

    A client contacted a law firm regarding a dispute she was having. They decided to represent her in the case. She signed a retainer agreement about expenses she will have to pay and the amount for the attorney fees for the services and other possibilities for additional expenses.

    The firm assigned an attorney to the case. The attorney wrote letter to keep the client informed regarding the process of the case. He wrote letters explaining how he got the defendant to admit certain evidence that would help us, how he proved things in the case and more.

    Almost 3 years later..the dispute is ready to see a judge. There is a conference at the court house. The attorneys for both side discuss a resolution to end the dispute. The attorney present the resolution to his client (plaintiff). He told her that this was the best solution for her. The client ask the attorney if she has all the information and the truth with the case and the attorney writes back with yes he has been fully honest and told her everything with the case.

    So of course; she took his advice as she saw no need for the attorney to lie to her about the solution. A year later the client was just curious to see her case file. She went to his office and request her case file. Surprisingly he was very nervous to see her.

    Upon looking at the case file; she realized that he lied to her in those letter stating he was proving this and that in the case and that he got the defendant to admit things and how he was handling the case.

    So now the former client is thinking whether or not was it really a good resolution or did he tell her that to cover himself. If the case would have proceeded she would have discovered the lies he was telling her.

    A clause in the retainer stated: The client understands that New York State Judiciary Law Section 475-a reads that if the client terminates the agreement the "_____ Law Firm" has the right to an attorney's lien on the services performed up to the date and time of the termination. In a situation where "______ Law Firm" is discharged for cause, then no attorney's lien will be attached to the case.

    The client now feels that the lawyer advised her to the solution of ending the dispute because he knew that she would eventually find out and lying to the client like this would probably be a good cause to discharge him. Which means that he wouldn't be able to collect his fees.

    Now should the former client speak with the senior partners of the law firm. The client is very angry especially having to cough up close to $20,000 in fees for the attorney plus other legal expenses acquired for the case.

    The attorney knew he would be able to get his fees if the client discovered he has been lying to her about the case and how he was handling it for all thing time. The attorney lied to the client, made her think he was proving and gather evidence with the case when in fact he wasn't and haven't done that. The client signed the agreement based on the information which he was telling her which turned out to be a lie. The attorney knew that if the case was to move any further into the case; he client would have eventually found out the lie and he would be discharged without collecting his fees.

    The client was fed false and misleading information in order for the client to react on it.

    I'm sure attorneys can't profit made from the result of its misconduct. Should I speak to the law firm senior partners, mediation or just let them keep the $20,000? Do you think what this attorney did was wrong? Why do such thing in writing when it can come back?

    Please note that I have no problem paying for services; if you do the work you deserve the pay. But in this case I was fed lies. Should I try to speak with the law firm first or should I try the attorney client fee dispute in New York?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    Questions please?

    You were the plaintiff, right?

    Did you receive a settlement?

    Were you paid the settlement?

    Were you invited to attend depositions if any?

    Were you sent actual copies of any documents discovered (demanded and received) from the defendants?

    What I'm asking is: Were you just sent letters of updates, or were you included in the actual discovery process?

    Have you requested and received a complete copy of the attorney's file for your case? (a nominal copy charge is normal.) I have made such a request and then known for a fact from other information that some docs were withheld, so read the file using your head.

    Getting a refund will be very difficult. You'll have to prove malpractice, and maybe to your state's bar association. My experience with the bar is that they tend to defend attorneys even in egregious cases. I hope yours is better.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    1.) Yes I am the plaintiff
    2.)Yes, I did receive(was paid) the settlement
    3.)I was invited to my deposition but was told by my attorney that other depositions (such as the defendant's) that I needed not to attend
    4.)Not sure what you mean by "Were you sent actual copies of any documents discovered (demanded and received) from the defendants?"
    5.)I was sent letter of updates and the only actual discovery process I was included in was my own deposition.
    6.)Yes, I did which is how I discovered that he lied to me in those letters of updates. Which is how I discovered he never proved what he said he did, the defendant never admitted what my attorney told me he did and etc.

    I am now thinking that he didn't want the case move forward as I would have soon discovered the lies he told me and he wouldn't be able to get his fees. He feed me lies on how he was handling and doing stuff in the case which wasn't true. I was under the assumption that he doing what he was suppose to do. I performed an action which was to sign the agreement from the information he was telling me which wasn't true.

    This would explain why he was nervous when I asked for the case file. I believe that would be fraud.

    Thank you for your response.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    If you have evidence in the case file which directly contradicts what he told you in letters, you have a complaint. You especially have a complaint for fees if he billed you for things he didn't do.

    There is a normal discovery process in which documents, admissions, and depositions are demanded and taken. Of course you were invited to your own deposition, LOL, but you had a right to be included and/or apprised in all other discovery.

    Again, if you have letters from the attorney which are lies based on his file, or if he failed in due diligence but lied about that, then you may complain.

    I'd put together a package of documents attached to a demand letter, proving the failures and demand money. I'd state in the letter that I was allowing until a certain date (probably 30 days) to receive money for my demands. I would state that if my request for money wasn't met, I'd file a formal complaint with the bar assoc.

    Good luck. I've never gotten satisfaction from our bar even in the most egregious of cases. I hope yours is better.

    I'm not an attorney. It might be hard to find an attorney who would complain about another attorney.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    Thank you Cmre3456 for your replies. Your time and help is very much appreciated. : )

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    One more thing. Here, if any attorney receives such a complaint and demand for money, she is required to immediately forward it to her malpractice insurance company even if it is less than the deductible on the policy. This is because sometimes an initial demand can escalate if not settled. Also, just like your car insurance and your driving record, the malpractice insurance company demands that it be apprised of any complaints against its insured.

    Sometimes this is good and sometimes it doesn't help. Just be aware that any response you get initially may be from the insurance company. They don't give a rip about their insured. They look out for themselves (in my experience.) They may deny the claim and leave you and their insured to deal with the bar.

    On the other hand they may persuade your attorney to settle in order to avoid possible escalation. You'll find out soon enough.

    BE SURE to write prominently at the bottom or top of your letter something to the effect that "this letter is for settlement purposes only." In most places, settlement negotiations are confidential from the court and if you later decide to raise your demand amount or change anything, they can't use that letter against you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    Wait a minute.

    You don't even say, unless I missed it, whether this was a contingency case or not.

    It sounds like it was contingency. If it was, you don't pay any attorney fees directly. The attorney gets a percentage of the award or settlement. The expenses in the case such as filing fees, deposition fees, etc. are deducted from the settlement first.

    They can not file a lien if they don't complete or win the case. The settlement is paid to the attorney anyway, he deducts the costs and his fee and sends the plaintiff a settlement check. You should get a detailed statement of all the costs.

    Generally, after tort reform, most parties pay their own attorney fees and costs. However there are statutes for various torts and actions that allow the award of attorney fees. Here in Florida there are about 200 of those. Then there are fee shifting statutes. For instance one can get attorney fees and costs in a friviolous case. One can also get fees and costs under offer settlements statutes. I have seen cases where the party got awarded fees and costs, and the attorney then deducted the costs from the award too, collecting them twice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    I can't tell that it was a contingency. "The client is very angry especially having to cough up close to $20,000 in fees for the attorney plus other legal expenses acquired for the case." I don't know what that means for sure.

    You may be right. In any event, if it's proven that the attorney lied to get the client to settle, there may remedies available.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    Yes this was on a contingency fee. I have been doing some research the first quote is from a NYU Law website. The other quotes were from other source through out the internet I discovered. The attorney fee wasn't deserved in this case.


    1.)No Need to show damages or causation for disgorgement, sufficient to show breach of fiduciary duty. (From NYU Law-- site:law.nyu.edu-- Article: Professional Responsibility Outline)

    2.)The remedy of fee forfeiture also is available. Importantly, a plaintiff who establishes a breach of fiduciary duty by his or her attorney need not prove that the breach caused actual damages in order to obtain forfeiture of some or all of the compensation paid to the fiduciary.

    3.)The primary remedy for breach of fiduciary duty is not compensation for loss but disgorgement of the profit which the defendant has obtained from his wrongdoing.

    4.)Disgorgement, which extracts ill-gotten gains from the hands of a wrongdoer, is an equitable remedy meant to prevent the wrongdoer from enriching himself by his wrong.

    5.)A breach of fiduciary duty claim carries a distinct advantage for a plaintiff: Often, the plaintiff need not show that the breach of duty harmed him in any way. Instead, the plaintiff can seek the equitable remedy of fee forfeiture, also known as “disgorgement.” Most courts that have considered the issue have held that a client need not show actual harm if he or she seeks only disgorgement.1 One justification for this rule is that under agency principles, an agent “is not entitled to be paid when he has not provided the loyalty bargained for and promised.”2 The second justification is deterrence: Attorneys should be afraid to act disloyally, whether or not it is likely that their clients will be harmed by their actions.3

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,624

    Default Re: Can You Get Your Legal Fees Back If Your Lawyer Deceived You

    You will need to have the facts of your case reviewed by a lawyer. Without knowing the facts, we cannot evaluate your claim.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Closings and Escrow: Can I Get Them to Reimburse My Lawyer Fees
    By HonestandTrue in forum Buying, Selling and Conveying Real Estate
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-04-2011, 05:15 PM
  2. Legal Fees: Lawyer Fees
    By wayne1984 in forum Criminal Defense Lawyers
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-25-2011, 07:49 PM
  3. Legal Fees: How Much Should Lawyer Fees Be
    By jul in forum Criminal Defense Lawyers
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-05-2011, 11:19 PM
  4. Inappropriate Lawyer Fees
    By cyras21 in forum Legal Practice
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-20-2010, 08:11 AM
  5. Immigration Lawyer Fees
    By Eagerly in forum Immigration Issues
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-02-2009, 08:02 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 
Forum Sponsor
Find A Lawyer - Free, confidential referrals.
Legal Forms - Buy easy-to-use legal forms.




Untitled Document